The Billable Time Principle

Save ... and BILL ... your pennies.Is your time billable? More specifically, can you put this particular moment on an invoice? How about the previous hour, or the one following this one?

First things first.

You’ll forgive yourself this particular five minutes in the event it falls in the non-billable column. A good education, after all, pays you back with interest. So enjoy this investment in time as I put a fresh shine on that age-old adage: Time is money.

More to the point, as a business owner, manager, or valued cog in the machinery, you owe it to yourself to fill your day with billable activities. Track your time as it passes, rather than trying to remember it at the end of the day. Recognize when a freebie is actually billable, and have the courage to put it on your invoice. Save the majority of your distractions until after 6:00.

Bonus: Some small distractions are beneficial, provided you are in control of them. Take your hands off the keyboard. Stand up, and take a brief, brisk walk. Stretch. Eat something healthy. Get a glass of water. Read a magazine article. Make that important call. Then get back into your work refreshed.

An unexpected interruption, on the other hand, forces you to slam the brakes on productivity and shift into neutral. Your brain has no idea where this is going to go. Getting back to where you were before the disruption means shifting back into first gear and going through the motions before hitting cruising speed again.

If you find yourself believing you need more hours in your day, maybe all you really need is to prioritize the hours you have.

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